Wheels and deals
It’s going to get ugly in the fiercely competitive family hatchback market soon, as Nissan has decided to rejoin the fray with its newly-launched Pulsar model.
Clearly aiming at the likes of Volkswagen’s Golf and Ford’s Focus, Nissan bosses are already talking up their new challenger ahead of the car’s autumn debut.
Styled to complement the popular Qashqai, the Pulsar promises to major on quality, refinement and cabin space plus boast a raft of hi-tech kit to make the ownership experience safer and more enjoyable.
There’s no word yet on pricing or detailed specifications, but Nissan is aiming to dip below a 95g/km CO2 baseline with its engine offerings while the likes of automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and web-connected infotainment will also be available.
The mighty Blue Oval is marking 30 years of diesel power this year. 1984 saw the introduction of Ford’s derv-powered Fiesta and, to illustrate the power of the black pump, the firm now sells almost 119,000 of them every year.
According to the carmaker, today diesel power represents 38.5% of all Ford car sales, making the introduction of its first mainstream diesel car a significant landmark.
Now, 30 years on, today’s Ford Fiesta has been named “Small Car of the Year 2014” by Diesel Car magazine for the third year in a row.
The UK’s bestselling car for the past five years, the Fiesta, was launched with the company’s first volume diesel engine in April 1984. At the time, Ford’s large car range, including the Granada, had offered a 2.1-litre, 64 horsepower diesel from 1977.
The original 1,608cc diesel engine, also used to power the Ford Escort and Orion models, was boosted to 1,753cc in 1988 and became a mainstay of Ford products for the next 20 years.
Today’s Fiesta diesel range is a world apart from its low power beginnings, with all variations emitting less than 100g/km of CO2. The 1.6-litre Econetic variant with engine start-stop technology returns a combined 85.6mpg, with CO2 emissions as low as 85g/km.
Volkwagen is going even more upmarket with the all-new version of the Passat, which is due to hit showrooms later this year.
Soon buyers will be able to include a plug-in hybrid and an all-new 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel among their forecourt options, as VW goes chasing after its sister company Audi.
Weight-saving measures have chopped up to 85kg from the new kid on a like-for-like basis, which helps achieve VW’s stated efficiency boosts of 20% versus equivalent outgoing Passats.
LED headlights will be available on some models, while the rear light clusters will switch over to a full-LED setup as standard.
The planned plug-in hybrid Passat will be able to travel around 31 miles on electric power alone, with a total range of 600 miles or so - but only with efficient driving.
These design sketches are all that Volkswagen is willing to release ahead of the model’s digital debut in July. A launch date is pencilled in for October, with UK sales starting before the end of the year. Any Passat fans desperate to be the first to own one of the new breed will, however, have to wait until early 2015 for the first deliveries.